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Shawana Badat: ”Say something. Your silence is acceptance of violence”

”Say something. If your religion doesn’t promote violence and justify the murder of innocents.”
”Say something. Your silence is acceptance of violence.”
I have seen and heard comments like these since 9/11. Since that day, like millions of other Muslims, I have been an apologist for the actions of a few.
Shawana Badat was raised in Manchester. Works as an English translator for Kb Mosaik.
Shawana Badat was raised in Manchester. Works as an English translator for Kb Mosaik.
Foto: Lasse Ottosson
Detta är en personligt skriven text i mosaik.kristianstadsbladet. Åsikter som uttrycks är skribentens egna.

Let me begin by strongly condemning the recent terrorist attacks in France and Austria. As one of 1.8 billion Muslim around the world, I can wholeheartedly say that Muslims share the pain and sadness of the victims’ families.

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Their actions are a betrayal of what we believe in

These barbaric acts were not committed by individuals who follow the true values and principles of Islam. Their actions are a betrayal of what we believe in. They do not represent us. Let me explain why.

A military police guards a synagogue in Vienna after the terrorist attack on November 2nd. Four people died, about 20 were injured.
A military police guards a synagogue in Vienna after the terrorist attack on November 2nd. Four people died, about 20 were injured.
Foto: Matthias Schrader/AP/TT
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Defend not only Muslims but also Christians and Jews

For Muslims, the Quran is more than just a book; it’s a way of life. It provides spiritual and practical guidance for all aspects of life, including economic, social and political issues. And like all books and religious texts, the Quran needs to be read in context. Just like the Bible, it deals with issues ranging from the day we’re born till the day we die.

A man at ground zero, the memorial site after the terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001, in New York.
A man at ground zero, the memorial site after the terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001, in New York.
Foto: Seth Wenig

Groups like ISIS claim legitimacy for their actions by picking single quotes from the Quran; like the right to self-defence. The prophet was given this right after more than 13 years of suffering and persecution. However, this right came with conditions: only fight active combatants; defend not only Muslims but also Christians and Jews and don’t use violence if the enemy gives up.

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We see them for what they are: criminals, murderers and terrorists

The Prophet also gave clear commands in wartime: don’t kill women and children, don’t kill the old and sick, don’t kill a monk or a priest, don’t destroy places of worship, don’t kill those who surrender or run away, and don’t enforce Islam.

So yes, the Quran does contain verses which allow for the use of violence – but only in times of war. The Prophet was insulted, verbally abused and physically harassed throughout his life. But not once did he or his companions’ murder or hurt those who insulted him.

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It wasn’t just three planes that were hijacked on 9/11, it was my religion too
Knife attack in a church in Nice on October 29th. Two people died and several were injured.
Knife attack in a church in Nice on October 29th. Two people died and several were injured.
Foto: Daniel Cole

Muslims have been disputing the legitimacy of extremists for years. When politicians and the media refer to these actions as “Islamic”, they give them a sense of legitimacy and authority that we Muslims do not. We see them for what they are: criminals, murderers and terrorists. They do not represent us nor do they have a claim to our holy book.

It wasn’t just three planes that were hijacked on 9/11, it was my religion too.

Freedom of expression is a core value of any democracy. However, as Angela Merkel pointed out, “Freedom of expression has its limits. Those limits begin when hatred is spread”.